Meet the Board
Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy’s Board of Directors is made up of parents, grandparents, family members, and friends of those living with Duchenne. Unlike many nonprofits, PPMD’s Board is hands on, not only governing the organization, but directly working within many of PPMD’s programs.
Anessa Fehsenfeld, Board Chairman
John Killian, Board Treasurer
John Killian lives in Dallas Texas with his wife, Stefanie, and five children, Abbie, Nick, Ben, Sam, and Sophie. Their youngest son, Sam, was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in January 2005. John is a Director and Chief Financial Officer of a private real estate fund with Clarion Partners.
Christine L. Piacentino, Board Secretary
Christine L. Piacentino is an Senior IT Business Risk and Control Management Analyst with HSBC. Prior to that she was an IT Audit Consultant with Robert Half Management Resources, an IT Auditor and a IT Project Manager. Christine is a Certified Information Systems Auditor. Christine was elected to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy’s board of directors in 1999 and served as the Secretary from 1999 until 2011. She was re-elected to the board in December of 2014. She is also currently a co-coordinator for the Western NY FACES group and is the NY State Advoacy Captain for PPMD. Christine lives in a suburb of Rochester NY. She is married to Michael and has two children, Kathryn and Jonathan. Jonathan was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy on December 31, 1997.
Rasha’s son was diagnosed with Duchenne aged 3, in 2016. She started her career in asset management on the buy-side. After obtaining her MBA ,she joined Shell Gas and Power where she helped lead Shell LNG Trading’s Middle East division. When her first child was born, Rasha and her husband moved back to Kuwait and she went back to Asset Management to build a global portfolio of Infrastructure and Energy investments for Kuwait Fund. Rasha received her MBA from INSEAD and her Bachelor degree in Computer Science from Kuwait University. She is now based in New York, where her husband is a diplomat and her boys go to school.
Linda Cripe, MD
Linda Cripe, MD, is a professor of pediatrics and a pediatric cardiologist for The Heart Center. She is also a member of the physician team for the Neuromuscular Disorders section of The Neurosciences Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Cripe completed her residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She served as a pediatric cardiology fellow at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and at Children’s Hospital Boston. Before coming to Nationwide Children’s, Dr. Cripe spent 12 years at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Dr. Cripe’s clinical interests focus on non-invasive cardiac imaging specifically echocardiography as well as on the care and treatment of cardiomyopathy associated with neuromuscular disease, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy. She was a member of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Steering Committee Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Standards of Care, and has been an invited lecturer nationally and internationally on cardiomyopathy related to Duchenne.
Christopher B. Curran
Christopher Curran lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut with his wife Jessica and their three sons, Conner, Kyle, and William. Conner was diagnosed with Duchenne in 2015 at the age of five. Christopher and Jessica strongly believe in raising awareness, advocacy, and fundraising. Christopher works in the maintenance department for the Town of Lewisboro, New York.
Jonathan Finder, MD
Dr. Finder is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and an attending pulmonologist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where he has been on faculty since 1993. Dr. Finder was the first author of the 2004 American Thoracic Society Consensus Statement on the respiratory management of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and many other publications concerning respiratory aspects of this disease. Dr. Finder is also a member of the Academy of Master Educators at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a long-time medical educator. Dr. Finder’s career focus has been in respiratory complications of neuromuscular disease. He is the father of two teen-aged sons and married to Jana Finder, an attorney. In addition to being an avid cyclist Dr. Finder enjoys playing bluegrass banjo.
David N. Hofstein
David Hofstein lives in Philadelphia with his wife Gail. Their grandson, Henry Beyer, who was diagnosed with Duchenne in May 2017 at the age of 4, lives in Los Angeles with his parents Diana and Jon and his younger sister Lucy. David is the senior partner of the Philadelphia based domestic relations law firm of Hofstein Weiner & Meyer, PC. He is committed to doing whatever he can to help those being affected by Duchenne.
Joanna Johnson has been on the board of PPMD since 2015. She and her husband Paul live in Downingtown, PA with their two sons, Elliott and Henry, who were diagnosed with Duchenne in 2007. Joanna has a BA in English and Spanish and earned her Master’s degree in Education, specializing in students with diverse needs. She is currently a high school Spanish teacher. Soon after the boys were diagnosed, the Johnsons found PPMD and immediately got involved. The Johnsons have organized a local community 5K event to support PPMD. Unionville Run for our Sons had its inaugural race in 2009 and it continues to be a tremendously successful run that raises over $50,000 per year. Joanna has been a speaker at various conferences to talk about the effects of Duchenne upon the family and the clinical trial experience.
Chris Jones lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife, Natalie and 3 living children. Their son, Mitchell Jones passed away from Duchenne in 2013. Prior to his son’s passing Chris started a Facebook page entitled Mitchell’s Journey which has since gained international attention as both a place for healing and insights on the often misunderstood world of grief and healing. Most notably, Mitchell’s Journey has become a beacon of hope to many and an invitation to live a life of significance. The collateral effect of that blog’s universal message is awareness of Duchenne. Chris has a background in leadership development and is currently the CEO of a software/L&D company. Chris is also a public speaker, gaining popularity across a wide range of industries on what it means to live a life of significance, what happens on the other side of medicine, and how to close the gap between what we value and what we do.
The first member of the board with Duchenne muscular dystrophy himself, Colin Rensch, 25, lives with his family in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Colin received a B.A. with majors in both music and history from Hope College in 2016. Colin’s academic specialty is the history of music, and he received his M.A. in musicology from the Western Michigan University School of Music in 2018. He is currently a graduate student in the Department of History at Western Michigan University and serves as a teaching assistant. Colin is an active member of the First Congregational Church of Kalamazoo, where he sings in the choir and volunteers with other worship arts ministries.
Donna Saccomanno, Co-Founder
Donna Saccomanno is co-founder of PPMD and lives in Yonkers, NY with her two children Thomas and Dean. Donna is a Registered Nurse working in the health and wellness field of Integrative medicine, medical weight loss, and bioidentical hormone replacement. She also has background in pediatrics.